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Woman who bragged about killing Gila monster gets probation, $400 fine

Posted at 7:56 AM, Aug 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-19 21:13:54-04

Sarah Crabtree, who admitted to killing a Gila monster in March, was sentenced Thursday to a year of probation and a $400 fine.

Court official Micci Tilton confirmed the sentence, handed down by a Pima County Animal Welfare Court judge.

She pleaded guilty to taking wildlife without a license and possession of restricted wildlife. She was originally ticketed with the additional citations of possession and transportation of unlawfully taken wildlife, taking of wildlife during closed season and taking of wildlife by unlawful method.

Gila monsters are a protected species, considered "near threatened" and killing one is considered a crime under state law.

Crabtree, a 26-year-old who lives in Three Points, issued this statement to KGUN9 via the phone in May.

I didn't do it just to do it for fun. I did it to protect myself and my family. I saw it when I pulled up to my house. I didn't know what to do, so I panicked. I went out there and killed it. It was on my property and I freaked out. I have dogs -- small puppies -- and an infant child, and I'm fighting to get my two other kids back. I have already had enough death threats.

I didn't realize they were protected. I don't know anything about reptiles. I never studied them. I didn't know it was illegal to kill them. If I knew, I wouldn't have posted anything or done anything. I wish I hadn't done any of it. I feel bad. I have apologized profusely to people. I feel bad for offending them and everything. I was still getting death threats before deactivating my Facebook. I got more than a dozen.